TALES OF H. P. LOVECRAFT

PrintE-mail Written by Martin Unsworth

H. P. Lovecraft's work has inspired some of the most fantastic art since the author’s death; from movie adaptations and comic books to lyrics and homages in rock band lyrics (and, indeed, band names). This collaboration between a duo that predominately make imagined soundtracks and acclaimed actor Laurence R. Harvey - primarily known for his horror films, but an incredibly versatile performer - instantly grabs the listener from its moody introduction.

With Harvey performing the stories with an intense timbre that counterpoints the electronic backing. Two of Lovecraft’s tales are told here - albeit in a specially adapted form (by poet John ‘The Baptist’ Togher). Side One contains one of the author’s better-known pieces, largely due to the fantastic Stuart Gordon film, From Beyond, while the flipside features The Hound.

From the very start, a sinister and ominous mood is set. The mix of synth sounds on the score evokes images of a John Carpenter-type scale while Harvey’s delivery has the tone and urgency as one would expect from someone recounting happenings as outlandish and horrific as those that occur at the Tillinghast laboratory. When the experiment gets underway in The Machine, both the music and voice take on a different dimension, drawing the listener into the world of heightened senses. The exhilaration and threat palpable, a feeling that continues with the groovy Negative Forces. A mournful Lament brings the first tale to a close with an entirely satisfying piano riff complimenting the fractured mind of the unnamed narrator.

The Hound, on the other hand, begins with bigger beats. The unearthly recitation is almost sung. It soon settles (or to be more correct, unsettles) into an incredibly atmospheric story involving body snatching and throbbing rhythms, that build on the simple patterns to a riveting pulse, once again adding a cinematic aura to the reading.  Both stories benefit from the lack of traditional storytelling techniques such as sound effects or additional voices. Here, they’d be too distracting against the frenzied synths. It’s as though we’re sat around a campfire with the narrator, hearing the ghastly tales first-hand, while listening to a ‘80s horror film score.

Not only does this release celebrate an author whose work has influenced all manner of arts in the years following the conception, but it also sits well as a moody and absorbing listen. Harvey’s voice emits both a calming resonance and a sinister and unsettling aura. Lovecraft’s words seem to come easily for the actor, certainly not sounding as clumsy or archaic as some recitals of material from this period. As the release is a very limited edition, we suggest getting pre-orders in now. 

TALES OF H. P. LOVECRAFT / COMPOSER: THE DUKE ST. WORKSHOP WITH LAURENCE R. HARVEY / LABEL: STATIC CARAVAN RECORDS / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 22ND


 

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